President's Message, 0620 UTBJ, Vol. 33, No. 3. 9

AuthorBy Herm Olsen
PositionVol. 33 3 Pg. 9

President’s Message

Vol. 33 No. 3 Pg. 9

Utah Bar Journal

June, 2020

May, 2020

Fear, Faith, and Forecasters

By Herm Olsen

When I was a young man (roughly the 1860s), I was intensely curious about people who could predict the future – or thought they could. I read Jeanne Dixon’s A Gift of Prophecy and Edgar Cayce’s The Sleeping Prophet. Yes, I was told, they’re wrong about a lot of things, but my young mind countered that they were also right about some things too. Even mere mortals like Sylvia Brown seemingly had insights beyond most of us and wrote in 2008: In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments. Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attacking again ten years later, and then disappear completely.


So I admit and confess that my current crystal ball is rather clouded, and the realities of even this week will be hopelessly dated by the time you actually read these thoughts. But as of the moment: • One of every three Americans is in official lock-down.

• Schools aren’t expected to re-open for the balance of the school year.

• Universities are closed, and graduations canceled.

• Tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases are detected, with thousands of Americans succumbing to the pestilence.

• Restaurants, bars, temples, churches, and conventions are shuttered, and unemployment numbers have skyrocketed.

• Dow-Jones fell to pre-2016 levels.

• 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed.

• Michigan and Pennsylvania have determined that law firms are not considered an essential service, and in New York, attorneys can only use their offices when supporting essential services.

• The economic impact is immense. It went from a ripple to a tidal wave to a tsunami.

There are a few precedents for our current plight. Few places in history have been more deadly than London in the Sixteenth Century. Newly arriving sailors and other travelers continually refreshed the city’s stock of infectious maladies.

Plague, virtually always present somewhere in the city, flared murderously every ten years or so. Those who could afford to flee the city during an...

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